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The host-microbiota interplay is recognized as a key factor for the homeostatic maintenance in animals. In pigs, the weaning transition represents a drastic changes event leading to high risk of gut dysbiosis, which in most cases results in economic losses for swine industry. The blood type antigens expressed on mucosal surfaces can act as receptors for bacterial adhesion and the hypothesis of possible associations between blood groups and intestinal microbial profiles has been tested in human with contrasting results. Nevertheless, no studies testing the blood type as possible shaping factor for gut microbiota are available for pigs. The results of our previous study suggested the porcine AO blood types system as a possible factor influencing the microbiota composition. In the present study, the changes in fecal microbiota of 12 piglets were followed from 7 days after birth to 2 weeks post-weaning, testing the hypothesis that blood types may impact on its structure. No effects attributable to the difference in blood groups were detected, however, the sampling site (faeces) and the low statistical power might have masked the hypothesized impact. The data clearly showed the rearrangement of the bacterial ecosystem triggered by weaning transition; mainly consisting of a shift from a Bacteroidaceae-Enterobacteriaceae dominated community, to a Prevotellaceae-Ruminococcaceae dominated community. The functional analysis by metagenomic predictions suggested a role of the high levels of long-chain fatty acid in swine milk as energy source for Enterobacteriaceae (E. coli), in suckling piglets. This study provides a first insight for further investigations; indicating the need for larger sample size, preferably derived from intestinal mucosa, to test the potential effect of blood groups on gut microbiota profiles, and for analyses aimed at assessing the long-chain fatty acids degradation activity within the intestinal microbiota of suckling piglets, with particular attention to the role of E. coli.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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Job schedule in which working hours deviate from the standard hours (e.g., evening shift, night shift or rotating shift).
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